Friday, December 05, 2008

Theatricized Reality: Petroleum Town

Much of what we call culture is the creation of different worlds or realities, theatricized versions of reality. It's always interesting to note what the salient or common features of those realities are. In literature, genre can be thought of as as the or theater of expectations.

Is it an accident that both Mobil and Chevron would choose to depict themselves and the world they exist in as clean, bright and green? The oversimplified illustration have a childlike quality. One is in fact a game.

Mobil's "Real" Energy World

Chevron's Energyville

This week, I drove by Chevron's refinery in El Segundo, California. Not even the aerial shot fully conveys how massive, sprawling and dystopian this thing looks.

This is a comment on visualization not criticism of the oil industry. Those companies and their products are a necessary, albeit complicated parts of our real world. To malign them, wholesale, would be oversimplistic.


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